“The t-shirt is a symbol of freedom, but also a rebellion to society”. Rin Taken. Did you know that the t-shirt is as North American as apple pie and blue jeans.
It wasn’t until after the fighter pilots in the South Pacific returned home from WW2, in the 50’s, that it was finally acceptable to wear an undershirt as a t-shirt. The first Surf Board Shapers had no idea that screen printing their logo on a t-shirt would change North American fashion forever. In the 80’s T-shirt branding evolved from a grass roots marketing tool, to a billion dollar industry. Before a sneaker logo could sell a t-shirt, it had to have a great print or be a billboard and say something only a t-shirt could get away with. From Novelty tee’s to brand tees no one could resist the comfort of a cotton tee
The first thing to look for when searching for authenticity of the perfect vintage tee is the tag/label. Before the store brand sold a tee, it was the brand on the blank itself that sold it. Knowing what to look for will save a lot of time during the hunt. Different tags can tell you about the era you tee come from. Current day American Made t-shirt manufactures continuously try to match the one of a kind comfort and feel found only in a 80’s Screen star t-shirt blank.
Rock concert tees tell others that not only did you support the art of rocking by purchasing the newest 8 track released by your Rock Mentor, but you attended these ground breaking rock services yourself. Beware these are not to be mistaken as current day overprinted reproductions sold to the squares at urban corporate mall stores; but a genuine rare black market concert tee. Only recognizable traits are in the original print, date, tag and quality of blank. Some concert T-shirts will sell for well over $1000 in the dealer trade. The authenticity and timeless prints set these apart.
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Vintage T-shirts have been a North American fashion icon since the fighter pilots returned home from WWII wearing them decorated with war slogans as normal weekend attire. Often the pilots stationed in South Pacific during the war would mark up their undershirts that they wore under their normal uniform with all types of pictures and slogans. When they returned home many of the pilots continued to wear their marked up t-shirts around the house or out with their pals. This was during the 1950’s, the era of Ozzie & Harriet and Leave it to Beaver, at the time if you wore a undershirt without a dress shirt over it you were considered a rebel, or a derelict.
As time passed the T-shirt became a symbol of freedom, everyone from bikers, rockers, surfers and more began to make the t-shirt a part of their everyday wardrobe.
The following collection of images from THE SELVEDGE YARD show different rock stars and their fans from the 70’s wearing an assortment of different t-shirts with different sayings that prove that prove that sometimes a tee says it better
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